Man to stand trial on neglect charge in disappearance of Elijah Vue

Posted at 4:18 PM, April 4, 2024 and last updated 7:46 AM, April 5, 2024

MANITOWOC, Wis. (Court TV) — A Wisconsin judge ruled there was enough evidence to send a man to trial on a charge of child neglect stemming from the disappearance of 3-year-old Elijah Vue.

Judge Robert Dewane said the evidence that “tied it all together” were messages between Jesse Vang and the boy’s mother, Katrina Baur, about making Elijah “fear” and “respect” Vang during a period he spent in Vang’s home. Dewane said the messages suggested Vang was engaging in conduct “designed to instill fear” in Elijah that could result in physical and emotional harm. Dewane also cited two photos shown in the hearing, one of the child lying on a bed blindfolded with bruises to his neck, and another of him standing in the corner of Vang’s bedroom with a full diaper.

A red and white plaid blanket that was found earlier in the search for Elijah Vue has been confirmed to be his, according to a press release.

A red and white plaid blanket that was found earlier in the search for Elijah Vue has been confirmed to be his, according to a press release. (Two Rivers Police Department)

Two police witnesses testified in support of allegations that Vang failed to provide necessary care for Elijah while he was staying in Vang’s home. Manitowoc Detective Michael Herrmann said Vang told him he brought the child to his home on February 12, 2024, at Baur’s request to help with behavioral issues through discipline and “punishment.” Baur and Vang are in a relationship.

WATCH: Detective: Elijah Vue Was Forced to Stand for Hours

Vang reported Elijah missing on February 18 – two days before he was supposed to leave his care — saying he went to sleep with the child in his room and when he awoke Elijah was gone, Herrmann testified.

According to Herrmann, Vang said discipline took the form of “timeouts” in which he was forced to pray standing up for 2-3 hours at a time. Vang also said he withheld bottles of milk from Elijah so he would eat solid food instead, and forbade him from playing with the single toy in the home, Herrmann testified.

If timeouts didn’t work, Vang would threaten him with cold water, Herrman said. On cross, Herrmann said Vang denied ever using cold water on him. But messages presented in the hearing suggested otherwise.

Two Rivers Police Detective Jacob Glaser testified about text and Facebook messenger communications between Baur and Vang. On February 17, Vang messaged Baur that Elijah appeared scared after he gave him a cold shower for filling his diaper. In another exchange, Baur said she didn’t want her son to “hate” Vang, but “fear” him. Vang replied “somebody has to be the bad guy” and that his goal was to make the child respect him because he already feared him.

Glaser also described the photos, which were not shown in the gallery. Baur deleted the photo of her blindfolded son from her phone but investigators recovered it, Glaser said.

Glaser also described an apparent late-night rendezvous after midnight on February 17. Cell phone evidence suggested Baur and Vang left Elijah alone while they went to a bar. Video from a Quik Trip on the same night showed Baur at the gas station alone. On cross, Glaser said Vang’s older son was home, but described him as unable to care for a child as a nonverbal person with autism.

Glaser agreed with Vang’s lawyer, Timothy Hogan, that the home was clean and nothing in the residence suggested signs of abuse or neglect.

Vang is due back in court on April 16 for his arraignment.